Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family
Plant is an upright, smooth annual or perennial, generally considered a domestic garden plant, however in some areas the seeds have escaped into fields and pastures. Preferred habitat is roadsides, prairies and the edge of woodlands. Plants have evolved to withstand the most severe climate conditions. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
Leaves are opposite on the stem; consisting of one whole part but divided into segments; each segment divided again (bipinnate); linear or lance-like.
Flowers are in an open, somewhat flat-topped cluster of heads that are symmetrical in shape. Disc flowers are bisexual; red; ray flowers are female and numerous; red, pink or white in color; three lobed at the tip. Flowering occurs in the spring but may extend well into summer.
Fruit is a seed which outer layer is fused to it (achene).
These plants are a western variety that escaped to the east and found a perfect home in the semi-tropical climate of the Coastal Plain. The plant is easily cultivated but just as easy to escape, as evidenced by its appearance in no-cut zones at roadside. Because of the showiness and ability of this plant to tolerate harsh conditions it is being used extensively in wildflower plots along Florida and Alabama highways.